First base is tricky this season. It also is very dependent on your league settings. Braves’ Austin Riley is 1B-eligible on Yahoo and ESPN, but only 3B-eligible on CBS. As such, players only appear on the tier of their primary position.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||6||792||151||651||41||106||112||3||.308||.411|
Unless you are attaching a huge premium to the three or four extra stolen bases you might get from a different first baseman, then Guerrero Jr. is easily the first off the board. His floor is high. Lock in elite counting stats in round one.
Freeman is almost the complete player. The uncertainty as to where he calls home in 2022 pushes him down into this tier. Alonso and Olson will both probably hit more home runs, but their (relative) lack of plate discipline suggests extended slumps are possible. Although he is probably the fourth of the bunch, Goldschmidt offers a level of stable but elite production that is not available below this tier.
|FOUR STAR TIER||ADP||PTS||G||PA||HR||R||RBI||SB||AVG||wOBA|
There is very little to choose between the four-star and three-star tiers. Abreu and Cruz are the nation’s favorites to flop this year, but they are second and third in RBI production since 2014 (Nolan Arenado is top). And if RBI is one of your categories, you have to be very confident of a cliff-edge in their performance to ignore them in the draft.
The trio of Votto, Bell and Hoskins offer 30-HR potential with a high floor, thanks to their plate discipline, but it is Belt who is my pick in this tier. Over the last two seasons combined, the 33-year-old is THIRD in MLB with .413 wOBA (min 500pa).
|THREE STAR TIER||ADP||PTS||G||PA||HR||R||RBI||SB||AVG||wOBA|
These five were narrowly bumped down to the three-star tier. Mountcastle, the darling of early fantasy baseball drafts, will take a hit from the new dimensions at Camden Yards. Walsh can’t hit lefties. Muncy is out injured. Cron mashes at Coors but is a below-average hitter (99 wRC+) away from Colorado.
|GARDEN VARIETY TIER||ADP||PTS||G||PA||HR||R||RBI||SB||AVG||wOBA|
Dalbec could lead the league in homers or lose his job after six weeks. Mancini is a class act and could easily be a value pick coming off an understandably spotty 2021, but like Mountcastle, he could suffer from new dimensions in Camden Yards. I like Rizzo, but he has become a bit “meh” and offers the same stable albeit uninspiring production as Schoop and Gurriel.
I don’t know what to make of Nathaniel Lowe (Nate to his mates), so given my lack of clarity, he is in this tier. I will not bet against Frank Schwindel being the real deal as his .420 wOBA in the second half of the season was spectacular. However, it is too difficult to overlook the fact that his xwOBA is 70 points lower than his wOBA.
Voit’s 2022 outcomes are volatile. One scenario sees him lead the majors in homers while playing first base in New York. Another is an injury-plagued campaign after being traded away as a bench bat.
|DEEP LEAGUE TIER||ADP||PTS||G||PA||HR||R||RBI||SB||AVG||wOBA|
Darin Ruf is easily my choice here. Although he is frequently platooned, Ruf posted .362 wOBA against RHP and .404 wOBA against LHP. The imminent arrival of the NL DH could open up more playing time for him. I appear to be in the minority with this view.
|THE OTHERS TIER||ADP||PTS||G||PA||HR||R||RBI||SB||AVG||wOBA|
ADP is based on the average draft position of hitters only, so Ty France (ADP 80) is the 80th hitter off of the board according to FantasyPros.
PROJECTIONS are based on the consensus of ATC, Steamer, and BAT.
PTS is based on a calculation using the consensus projections and the points system of NFBC Cutline that closely replicates 5×5 roto.
Featured image photo by John Fisher